In competing versions of the story, what Elvis Presley really wanted for his birthday was a rifle or a bicycle—both fairly typical choices for a boy his age growing up on the outskirts of Tupelo, Mississippi. Instead, Elvis’s highly protective mother, Gladys—”She never let me out of her sight,” Elvis would later say—took him to the Tupelo Hardware Store and bought a gift that would change the course of history: a $6.95 guitar. It was January 8, 1946, and Elvis Aaron Presley was 11 years old. Elvis has been sighted in the Library, on hoopla, near OverDrive and at Freegal
One of Hollywood’s most famous clashes of the titans–an upstart “boy genius” filmmaker Orson Welles versus a furious 76-year-old newspaper tycoon William Randolf Hearst–heats up on January 8, 1941, when Hearst forbids any of his newspapers to run advertisements for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. After catching a preview screening of the unfinished Citizen Kane on January 3, 1941, the influential gossip columnist Hedda Hopper wasted no time in passing along the news to Hearst and his associates. Her rival and Hearst’s chief movie columnist, Louella Parsons, was incensed about the film and its portrait of Charles Foster Kane, the Hearst-like character embodied in typically grandiose style by Welles himself. Even more loathsome to Hearst and his allies was the portrayal of Kane’s second wife, a young alcoholic singer with strong parallels to Hearst’s mistress, the showgirl-turned-actress Marion Davies. Hearst was said to have reacted to this aspect of the film more strongly than any other, and Welles himself later called the Davies-based character a “dirty trick” that he expected would provoke the mogul’s anger. Hearst sent the word out to all his publications not to run advertisements for the film. Far from stopping there, he also threatened to make war against the Hollywood studio system in general, publicly condemning the number of “immigrants” and “refugees” working in the film industry instead of Americans, a none-too-subtle reference to the many Jewish members of the Hollywood establishment. Hearst’s newspapers also went after Welles, accusing him of Communist sympathies and questioning his patriotism. Nominated for nine Oscars, Citizen Kane won only one (a shared Best Screenplay award for Mankiewicz and Welles) and Welles and the film were actually booed at the 1942 Academy Awards ceremony. It would be 25 more years before Citizen Kane received its rightful share of attention, but it has since been heralded as one of the best movies of all time. Find Citizen Kane at the Library and on hoopla.